Tufts University. Department of Computer Science. COMP 116 Introduction to Computer Security Fall 2014 Final Project. Guocui Gao

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1 Tufts University Department of Computer Science COMP 116 Introduction to Computer Security Fall 2014 Final Project Investigating Security Issues in Cloud Computing Guocui Gao Mentor: Ming Chow

2 1 Abstract Nowadays, the development of cloud computing tends to be fast and rapid in our Internet environment, especially in the field of information technology which involves high demands on large scale of network- computing. This project presents a comprehensive study on the challenges and issues of security in cloud computing. I first look into the impacts of the distinctive characteristics of cloud computing. Then, I analyze the cloud security requirements in terms of the fundamental issues, i.e., confidentiality, integrity, availability. 2 Introduction Cloud computing has begun to emerge as a hotspot in both industry and academia; It represents a new business model and computing paradigm, which enables on- demand provisioning of computational and storage resources. Economic benefits consist of the main drive for cloud computing due to the fact that cloud computing offers an effective way to reduce capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx). However, Cloud Computing has to face several challenges and issues. Storing and processing data out of the boundaries of company raises security and privacy concerns by itself. Nowadays information is the commodity of 21th century, and certain information can mean power and market advantage. Data is one of the most important and valuable resource any company has. Therefore, security mechanisms to protect this data are necessary to make the right choices and decisions for the company without worrying about data safety. In the paradigm of Cloud Computing we will have to trust a Cloud Service Provider (CSP), creating an extra dependency to a third party which some customers, depending on the value of their data, will inevitably feel uncomfortable. Outsourcing business data in a place not owned by oneself can scare organizations from using the benefits of Cloud Computing in an optimal way. 3 Background of cloud computing Cloud components 1. Data centers and server farms

3 Cloud services require large amounts of computing capacity in order to provide high flexibility and power, and are hosted in data centers and server farms (which can be distributed in multiple locations). For example, Google links a large number of servers to provide their services, or Amazon EC2 provides virtualization in a data center to create a huge amount of virtual instances. 2. Virtualization technologies The most important technology that makes cloud computing possible. Virtualization technologies abstracts physical computing resources (CPU, storage, network, memory, databases...) from applications and end users, providing the capability of creating pooled resources accessible to anything authorized to use them. This capability provides the multi- tenancy properties of cloud- computing, providing scalable and shared resource platform capabilities for all tenants. 3. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) APIs provide features to customers, like self- provisioning and control of services and resources, and allow communication between foreign applications and the cloud service. The type of APIs depend on the delivery model, and can go from simple URL manipulations to SOA (Service Oriented Architecture) programming models. 4. Encryption Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in a way that only hackers read it. This is usually done with the use of an encryption key, which specifies how the message will be encoded. Then, the authorized party uses a secret decryption key to decipher the message and read it. Encryption is the common technique used to protect the confidentiality of messages.

4 Fig. 1. Architecture of Cloud Computing 4 Cloud Computing Challenges 1. Outsourcing Outsourcing brings down both capital expenditure and operational expenditure for customers physically lose control on their data and tasks. The loss of control problem has become one of the root causes of cloud insecurity. To address outsourcing security issues, first, the cloud provider shall be trustworthy by providing trust and secure computing and data storage; second, outsourced data and computation shall be verifiable to customers in terms of confidentiality, integrity, and other security services. 2. Multi- tenancy Multi- tenancy means that the cloud platform is shared and utilized by multiple customers. Moreover, in a virtualized environment, data belonging to different customers may be placed on the same physical machine by certain resource allocation policy. 3. Massive data and intense computation cloud computing is capable of handling mass data

5 storage and intense computing tasks. Therefore, traditional security mechanisms may not suffice due to unbearable computation or communication overhead. For example, to verify the integrity of data that is remotely stored, it is impractical to hash the entire data set. To this end, new strategies and protocols are expected. 5 Cloud security threats and defense strategies Fig. 2. Ecosystem of Cloud Security and Privacy 1. Cloud Confidentiality Confidentiality is to ensure that user data, which resides in the cloud cannot be accessed by unauthorized party. Cloud computing involves storing users data on remote servers owned or operated by others and accesses through the Internet or other connections. The entire contents of a user s storage device may be stored with a single cloud provider or with many cloud providers. The threat of data compromise increases in the cloud, due to the increased number of parties, devices and applications involved, which leads to an increase in the number of points of access. Delegating data control to the cloud, inversely leads to an increase in the risk of data compromise, as the data becomes accessible to an augmented number of parties. In cloud computing, confidentiality plays a major part especially in maintaining control over organizations data situated across multiple distributed databases. Asserting confidentiality of users profiles and protecting their data, which is virtually accessed, allows for information security protocols to be enforced at various different layers of cloud applications.

6 Confidentiality can be achieved through proper encryption techniques taking the type of encryption into consideration: symmetric or asymmetric encryption algorithms, also key length and key management in case of the symmetric cipher. 2. Cloud Integrity A key aspect of Information Security is integrity. Integrity means that assets can be modified only by authorized parties or in authorized ways. Integrity may be associated with data, software and hardware. Data Integrity refers to protecting data from unauthorized deletion, modification or fabrication. Managing an entity s admittance and rights to specific enterprise resources ensures that valuable data and services are not abused or misappropriated. Cloud users should not only worry about the confidentiality of data stored in the cloud but also the data integrity. Data could be encrypted to provide confidentiality, there is, however, no guarantee that the data has not been altered while it resides in the cloud. A cloud computing provider is trusted to maintain data integrity and accuracy. Data Integrity requirement lies in applying the due diligence within the cloud domain when accessing data. Therefore, ACID (atomicity, consistency, isolation and durability) properties of the cloud s stored data should undoubtedly be robustly imposed across all cloud computing delivery models. Disaster recovery is another important issue. Even if you do not know where your data is, a cloud provider should tell you what will happen to it in the event of a disaster. It is warned that any offering that does not replicate the data and application infrastructure across multiple sites is vulnerable to total failure. Data replication policies should be established along with proof that the vendor can enact a complete restoration and how long it will take. 3. Cloud Availability Availability is one of the most critical information security requirements in cloud computing. Availability refers to the property of a system being accessible and usable upon demand by an authorized entity. In simple terms, availability means that an organization has its full set of computing resources accessible and usable at all times. Availability can be affected temporarily or permanently, and a loss can be partial or complete. Denial of service attacks, equipment

7 outages, and natural disasters are all threats to availability. The goal of availability for cloud systems (including applications and infrastructures) is to ensure the users can use them at any time, at any place. This is one of the prime concerns of mission and safety critical organizations. Availability concerns also extend to the need to migrate to another provider, uptime periods of current provider or longterm viability of the cloud provider. Availability of SaaS application ensures that enterprises are provided with service around the clock. This involves making architectural changes at the application and infrastructural levels to add scalability and high availability. A multi- tier architecture needs to be adopted, supported by a load- balanced farm of application instances, running on a variable number of servers. Resiliency to hardware/software failures, as well as to denial of service attacks, needs to be built from the ground up within the application. 6 Conclusion: Cloud computing is a promising and emerging technology for the next generation of IT applications. The barrier and hurdles toward the rapid growth of cloud computing are data security and privacy issues. Reducing data storage and processing cost is a mandatory requirement of any organization, while analysis of data and information is always the most important tasks in all the organizations for decision making. A number of techniques have been proposed by researchers for data protection and to attain highest level of data security in the cloud. However, there are still many gaps to be filled by making these techniques more effective. Organizations need to adopt a systematic approach to addressing security issues in the cloud and integrate security risk management frameworks in their business models. Suggestions like the ones offered by NIST Guidelines [SLR20] and ENISA [SLR19] can prove a useful starting point. However, given the complexity of existing global legislation, I recommend to look for legal advice depending on the importance of data stored in the cloud.

8 References: [1] Peter Mell, The NIST Definition of Cloud Computing [2] Cloud Security Alliance, (2011), Security Guidance For Critical Areas Of Focus In Cloud Computing [3] Mark O'Neill, (2011), SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS: A security checklist for cloud models [4] Char Sample, Cloud Security: Evaluating Risks within IAAS/PAAS/SAAS, Information Security Decisions Evaluating_R isks_within_iaas_paas_saas.pdf [5] Evaluating IaaS security risks, guide1.pdf [6] W. Voorsluys, J. Broberg, R. Buyya, Cloud computing principles and paradigms, 2011 [7] Aerohive Networks Inc, Public or private cloud: the choice is yours Whitepaper- Public- or- Private- Cloud.pdf

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